On 14 April, the FCA published guidance that sets out what it expects firms to do for customers who are facing payment difficulties due to the exceptional circumstances arising from COVID-19. This includes granting the customer a payment deferral for at least 3 months.
In relation to personal credit ratings, the guidance sets out that lenders should not report a worsening arrears status on the customer’s credit file during the payment deferral period. It also states that where customers have been unable to agree a payment deferral because of the lender’s operational difficulties and therefore miss a payment, or where they have entered into a similar temporary arrangement with the lender due to COVID-19 which results in a worsening arrears status, the FCA expects firms to work with the customer and credit reference agencies to ensure that any necessary rectifications are made to credit files.
The Government continues to work closely with the FCA and industry on this matter and stand ready to protect consumers wherever it is necessary.